Hotel Figueroa opened in 1926 as an exclusive women's hostelry by the Young Women’s Christian Association (Y.W.C.A.). According to a Los Angeles Times article, the hotel was "financed, built and operated by and for femininity," and served as a safe haven for women travelers. The hotel’s first general manager was the first female general manager of any hotel in the world: Maude Bouldin.
Throughout the decades, the hotel was at the center of cultural events, and continued to be a special place for women in business and social clubs, as well as a special place for art, politics, and intellectualism. Art exhibitions, musical shows, and hosted talks by world travellers were all part of the dynamic social scene at Hotel Figueroa. Political press conferences were often held in the lobby of the hotel. Community leaders gave speeches decrying racism, sexism, and other social issues. For many years, Hotel Figueroa was a center point of the Los Angeles and Downtown LA community.
In the 50s, the hotel decided to remodel to maintain its leadership prestige. This time, bathrooms were added to every guest room and a large pool was built where the YWCA once stood.
In 1978, Uno Thimansson took over as lease-holder and would operate the hotel for 36 years. During that time he transformed the entire property with Moroccan-themed design and furnishings, and the hotel served as an affordable, boutique hotel for tourists - and a unique hangout for locals.
Through all of these adaptations the strong architectural elements of grandeur, safety and inclusiveness served to keep the hotel viable and relevant.
In 2016, the thriving arts, dining and business scene inspired a comprehensive revitalization to restore the hotel, drawing inspiration from its original Spanish Colonial décor and its historical position as the center of Downtown LA’s vibrant cultural scene.
Today, Hotel Figueroa blends both old and new, offering a space that is respectful of where it came from and yet undoubtedly contemporary – a property that is both inspired by its own history and inspiring to those who walk its halls.